Can Most Tattoos Be Removed with Laser Tattoo Removal Therapy?

I have a large red and green flower tattoo on the outside of my ankle (above the bone, a little higher on my leg) and a dark green butterfly on the top of my foot. The flower is filled in with quite a bit of ink while the butterfly is just an outline. They are both about 2 years old. Is it likely that these tattoos could be removed or are there special considerations because of their location and color?

Doctor Answers (3)

Some Tattoo lasers work better for some colors

+2

In theory, tattoos over ankles have a slightly higher chance of scarring than other locations though careful choice of laser energy can reduce this risk further.

Main issue is tattoo color.  Blacks/dark blues predictably do the best (most lightening with fewer treatments).  Green will not respond to Q-switched YAG laser which is the most common tattoo laser wavelength, although reds typically will lighten with that wavelength.  Greens may respond better to Q-switched alexandrite lasers.  Some clinics may have both lasers and can have a go at all of the colors you've mentioned whereas a clinic with only a YAG laser wouldn't be able to do much for the green.

On occasion we've lasered the majority of a tattoo and if there's a small amount of localized color left, have removed that surgically but that's often not a great solution.


Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon

Multicolored tattoos

+2

The location of the tattoo is not as important as the colors of the tattoo. There may be a greater risk of infection and scarring which is very low, on the ankle than the face, neck or upper arm, but the colors other than black may respond differently and need different lasers. Yellows, reds and greens may take more treatment sessions than black to reduce the color and may need specific wavelengths that are not produced by some lasers.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Yes, but the color of the tattoo will be difficult

+1

Yes, your tattoos can be removed with laser tattoo removal but they are difficult colors so you need to make sure to go to an expert who has the right laser for the colors
 

Brian Dubow, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon

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